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Title: The Anglo-American special relationship and the Anglo-Iranian oil crisis, 1950-54
Author: Marsh, S.
Awarding Body: University of Wales Swansea
Current Institution: Swansea University
Date of Award: 1999
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Between 1950 and 1954 the Anglo-Iranian oil dispute sorely tried Anglo-American relations and initiated a process which had serious repercussions for the Special Relationship. Potentially, there was a sound basis for Anglo-American co-operation over Iran because, as the Cold-War developed, Britain needed American patronage to shore-up its wavering hegemony in the Middle East and America needed Britain's support to stabilise the region against communism, particularly in terms of its military commitment. Moreover, Britain and America agreed broadly on a series of issues raised by the oil crisis; the need to protect the sanctity of contract, the importance of securing Middle Eastern oil resources for the West, a desire to protect Iran against communism, and the imperative of denying the Soviets a bulkhead in the Persian Gulf. However, the Anglo-Iranian oil crisis exposed brutally the fact that Britain and America could not agree about either the nature or the primary objectives of their relationship in the Middle East. Whilst both countries valued Anglo-American co-operation highly, they also watched each other warily lest their principal ally become their principal rival. Anticipated co-operation over the Iranian oil crisis therefore foundered on a series of issues, such as: rivalry over oil resources, interpretations of what constituted a communist threat, and what had to be done to end the crisis. As a result, both sides were forced into a series of reassessments of their positions in the Middle East and of their Special Relationship. The result was quietly devastating for Anglo-American relations. British decline was exposed and accelerated. The US filled reluctantly the resultant power vacuum and de-prioritised co-operation with Britain. Two years after the oil dispute ended in 1954, the true magnitude of the silent revolution that it had provoked in Anglo-American relations was revealed spectacularly to the world by the Suez crisis.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available